I did something so out of character recently, and shopped under the influence of alcohol.
I came in tipsy from book club and set about doing some online shopping. Slightly over the limit in charge of a web browser is a very very bad way to shop at the best of times. Add in the season for spending, AKA Christmas, and it's an explosive mix.
I logged on because my much-needed lounge clock had died. But my decision-making was impaired and I just happened to throw in two beautiful but unnecessary and expensive-ish Christmas decorations. When the parcel arrived three days later, it turned out that the clock was out of stock and I'd paid the delivery charge for decorations I simply didn't need. I won't be doing that again.
Share an admission like this and you soon start to hear stories. One friend admitted that the affect of alcohol had resulted in her buying items without giving Customs duties a thought and was stung.
The best story I heard about being drunk in charge of a web browser was a friend of a friend who got trollied in front of the shopping channel and weeks later still had all sorts of items arriving that he never remembered buying. I am sure plenty of readers have received confirmation emails the next morning for something they didn't remember buying.
It's no surprise that TV shopping channels have traditionally broadcast 24/7. Those "and wait, there's more" sales pitches are even more believable after a few bevvies. I wouldn't mind betting these channels, and other 24/7 shopping sites such as Trade Me do great sales numbers late into the evening.
Unplanned shopping binges can break your budget. A survey by Statista in the UK last year found that 31.1 per cent of United Kingdom adults had shopped while drunk in the previous six months. All generations do it. But the most likely generation to succumb to that was millennials, at 42.2 per cent, and the least likely was boomers, at 15.3 per cent. A slightly less scientific survey from The Hustle in the United States found that of alcohol consumers, an average of 79 per cent admitted they had shopped under the influence at least once in their lives.
Surveys from a variety of countries, including Australia, typically find that clothes and shoes are the top under-the-influence purchases overall, but skewed towards women. For men, it's food apparently. Uber Eats does a roaring trade there. It's a hell of a lot easier to order take out when you've had a few.
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Tis the season for alcohol abuse, sadly. Add Christmas parties to that mix and most likely someone you know will wake up with the "why on Earth did I buy that" realisation this month. And it might be a whole lot worse that a few Christmas decorations.
An altogether better way to do your Christmas shopping is on foot locally. That's one thing that Covid-19 has reinforced. You can't get click happy if you have to physically front up to buy your gifts.
My local gym owners, Kate and Ben Walden of SoulSprite, have done 90 per cent of their present buying in the Devonport shops this year. They were surprised at just how many of their gifts could be purchased within a 100-metre radius of their own business. Ben says up until this year he'd done virtually all his Christmas shopping online.
Not everyone's local shopping strip has quality gift and book shops like Devonport does, of course. You may need to spread the net a little wider. But keeping it as local as possible and shopping with a list makes more sense than click and regret.
If you're prone to sudden online shopping, then delete the apps, disable the alerts, and turn off online shopping for your credit cards. And finally, most shopping channels and decent online shopping sites do allow returns. Take advantage of that if you really shouldn't have bought the items in question.